I got this idea while I was not-sleeping one night, and it's taken me a while to write, but I'm finally sort of happy with it and so here it is.

L'amore Fatale
Italian; meaning: "Fated Love"

-Jade West-

I don't want to be here.

It's Tori's twenty-seventh birthday party, and we're in a fancy-schmancy restaurant at a schmancy hotel with a schmancy name in French I can't pronounce. I had tried every possible angle to get out of it, but in the end Cat had dragged me here. Sitting at the table are of course Tori, at the head; next to her, André, with his arm around her; Trina, on the other side of Tori; then Robbie, and Cat next to him because she's still got a little bit of a crush on him; which leaves me sitting in between Cat and Beck. Awkwardly.

André stands up and raps his wine-filled glass with a utensil. "I'd like to propose a toast," he says, as if it wasn't obvious after his traditional signal of toasting. He gazes lovingly at Tori. "I'd just like to say happy birthday to my beautiful girlfriend, may there be many more and…all that stuff, and well, I just wanna say again that I love you." Tori grins and André kisses her, and I roll my eyes. Gak. Disgustingly cheesy, but that's André, and Tori loved it.

I gulp down the rest of my wine like a shot, hating it all. The wine is too weak, a blush wine like Vega likes, nothing like the strong red ones I favor. I don't care; I refill my glass anyway and drink some of that, too.

"That's a lot of wine, isn't it?" Cat comments.

"Whatever." I take another sip. It's not like there's a lot of alcohol in this thing. After this maybe I'll go to a bar. Yeah, that sounds good. I just need someone to come with me.

I poke Cat's shoulder. "Wanna go to a bar after this?"

She eyes me warily. "Which one?"

I shrug. "The hotel one?"

"Maybe," she concedes. "I don't really want to after that last bar you took me to. That guy was weird. He—"

"Yes, I'm fully aware of what the guy did," I cut her off. I don't need to hear it again, though it was pretty cool.

She doesn't respond. A minute later—"What did the guy do?" It's Beck.

"Were we talking to you?" I snap. "No. So stay out of the conversation and mind your own petunias."

This of course the part of the conversation Robbie chooses to hear. His face brightens. "Petunias? I love petunias!"

"Yeah, you would," I fire back.

"Hey, why're we talkin' about petunias?" André asks.

"I don't think we are." Beck.

"Then what are we talking about?" Tori and Trina at the same time.

"I don't know!" Cat shrieks, then yelps and buries her face in her arms on the table.

"Okay, everybody just stop!" I yell, then stand up, slinging my strategically ripped, fringy black bag over my shoulder. "I'm outta here." I guzzle down the rest of that damn wine and grimace from its awful taste.

Cat sticks her head up. "Jade, why don't you say happy birthday?" Her voice is so innocent and confused I have to listen, I can't help it. She reminds me of a little puppy or kitten, which, though I'll never admit to it, I love.

I pointedly roll my eyes at her and turn to Vega. "Happy birthday," I say in a flat, emotionless voice, as close to robotlike as possible. "Bye."

I sweep out of the restaurant, not looking back. Up to my hotel room it is. I consider ordering room service and charging it to Tori's or Beck's credit cards, but then I realize I don't have either card. Dammit. Then I remember the hotel bar and head down without thinking twice. I get lost along the way—I could've sworn I knew where it was—and end up at the pool, but I get there eventually.

"Just a beer for now," I tell the bartender, a hugely muscled, toned, clean-shaven man in a tight-fitting black shirt. I lay my money on the counter and he slides the mug towards me, a bit of foam spilling off the side.

I give a small half-smile to the bartender, who simply nods and turns away, leaving me be and turning his attention to the next customer, for which I am grateful. Bartenders can be like cheaper psychologists that you get to spill your life stories to whilst chugging down booze, and I don't want that tonight. I just want to get everything off my mind and be alone in my misery.

I take a sip of the beer, relishing in its cool, bitter taste, and then down about a third of it. Another follows it, then half of a third.

A guy sits next to me. He's cute, my drunken mind thinks, and I tap him on the shoulder. "You're cute!" I tell him, shouting louder than what's probably necessary. He turns around and it hits me that he looks familiar, but my brain's so muddled that I can't remember why, even though I've got a wicked strong feeling it's someone I should know. "What's your name?"

He doesn't answer right away. "What's the matter, intimidated?" I slur, raising an eyebrow.

The corner of the guy's mouth lifts up. "Nope. I used to have a girlfriend just like you." He holds out his hand. "I'm Gale."

I take it and shake it vigorously. "That's a girl's name," I tell him.

"Not spelled G-A-L-E."

"That's true," I concede.

"You never told me who you are."


"Well, hello, Jade."

"Hi, Gale!" I giggle, probably for the first time ever in my life. I tend to act completely unlike myself when I'm this drunk, which is partly why I don't do it very often. He smiles, and again I'm struck by his familiarity, but still I can't quite put my finger on it. I decide it shouldn't bother me.

He buys me another drink and we share it, sucking it down with two straws. Before long, he's drunk as I.

"You wanna dance?" he asks, and I accept. Just as we get out there, the song switches to a wild, loud dance-rock song. He begins swinging me around as if we're dancing a polka-tango-jazzy type thing and I'm laughing like mad.

And the song ends and we simply stand there, posed, staring at each other, breathing heavily, and it's like time has stopped just for the two of us, everything else around us simply disappearing.

And then he kisses me.

And I don't even care how pathetic, cliché, and girly it sounds, but sparks fly.

Before I know it, we're up into a hotel room that I think might be mine but I'm not sure, and the rest simply disappears.

Should I continue? It's all up to you guys. I have something planned for at least the second chapter. ;)

Name subject to change, I'm willing to take suggestions, please!

Oh, and any guesses as to who "Gale" really is? Hint: It's someone you know.